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hockey123
03-10-2010, 06:24 AM
Jason Harakal rules
By: Chuck Lafleur
March 9th, 2010 @[NO EMAIL POSTING ALLOWED] 4:16pm
It's hard to believe that this late in the season, the standings in the Eastern Conference of the OHL are as tight as they are. Not one playoff matchup for the first round has been set yet, and probably will not be until the final day of the regular season this Sunday. As far as the Niagara Icedogs go, there are several different scenarios that could unfold between now and the team's final game at the Hershey Centre March 14th. Niagara could finish as high as fifth or out of the playoffs completely, although don't bet on that happening. The team recorded three wins in 3 games last weekend, sandwiching a Saturday night home ice win over Sudbury around two wins against the Brampton Battalion. The six points certainly solidified the Icedogs chances of playing in the post season, but there is still much at stake. Let's examine the various scenarios for the playoffs with a whole bunch of "IF"s...........
If Brampton loses their three games this weekend and the Icedogs win theirs, the Icedogs finish fifth in the Conference and would open up in Kingston against the Frontenacs next week.Niagara has Missisauga on Thursday, Belleville on Saturday, both on home ice, then the regular season finale at the Hershey Centre on Sunday. Brampton meanwhile, has the unenviable task of playing Barrie in a home and home series Thursday and Friday, and wrap up the season at home Sunday against Kingston.
If Brampton wins one of their remaining games, they clinch fifth and play Kingston in round one.
If Peterborough wins both of their games, Thursday at home to Sudbury and Sunday at home to Oshawa and the Icedogs run the table, Niagara finishes ahead of the Petes. A sixth place finish means Missisauga in the first round, the matchup I like best. The Majors have had a tough go of it of late, but I think there are a couple of reasons for that. Number one, All-Star defenseman Cameron Gaunce has been hurt, although he should be back this week, and the Majors have known for a long while that they would be slotted in as the number 3 seed in the East, so how much motivation have they really had? It's not like they have offensive numbers to pad, really.......
If the Icedogs finish in 7th place in the Conference, a rematch of last year's thrilling seven game series against the Ottawa 67's would be in the offing. From a purely exciting-hockey-to-watch standpoint, this could be the best series of the first round, perhaps in the entire OHL.
If the Icedogs finish 8th, hey, it's been a nice run
Not sure who worked out or agreed to the schedule for the Sudbury Wolves to finish the season, but the team from the Nickel City ends theyear with 5 straight road games, last Saturday in Niagara, last Sunday in Missy, and this Thursday at Peterborough, Friday at Kingston and Sunday at Ottawa. Wait, I do know who made their schedule....Satan
Oshawa is desperate. The Generals have to win their games against Belleville, Ottawa and Peterborough and get a little help along the way
Ran into Jason Harakal, the former "Captain Video" of the Niagara Icedogs and currently a scout for the team at the Powerade Centre last weekend. Jason admitted to reading this blog on a weekly, heck I don't know, maybe daily basis, and wondered aloud why the virtues of the hard working scouting staff of the team had not yet been extoled. I explained to him that the best have been saved for last. So this week, a tip of the Icedogs hat to the following.....Director of scouting Scott Halpenny, genuinely nice guy and a real smart hockey mind.....along with the guys who are out all year scouting potential draft picks for Niagara.....Gary Kay,Paul Bellamy,Darren Price, Roger McLeod,Marc Carriere, Jim Rauth,Frank Caputi(dad of Luca) and the aforementioned Mr. Harakal.As a tribute to these guys, this blog has been titled after one of their own, and I should get but don't expect compensation from Harakal. Jason pointed out to me what an incredibly busy time of year this is for scouts, with all the Midget playoffs taking place, the long hours put in by these dedicated individuals, and the amount of arena hot dogs they consume through the season and playoffs. As a matter of fact, last weekend at the STCA's, Jason eclipsed the record of Coney Island hot dog eating champion Takery Kobayashi by scarfing down 64 hot dogs. Then in the second period..........
And finally, congrats to Icedogs netminder Mark Visentin on being named the OHL player of the week. He has been, in a word, outstanding. Visentin is a prime example of what hard work and dedication can accomplish. "Mark" my words, so to speak, but the young man from Waterdown will be one of the top 5 goalies selected in the 2010 NHL draft. Would love to see him go to the Leafs(I know, I know, how can you wish that on anybody?!)
Which leads to this.......two guys are talking, the one guy says "my poor dog, evey time the Leafs lose a game, he covers his eyes and starts to cry" His buddy asks him 'Well what's he do when they win?" And the first guy says "I don't know, I've only had him for 2 years!!"
Later,
Chuck